At which Court will my divorce be heard?
Only two types of Courts in South Africa have the jurisdiction (power) to hear divorces: The High Court and Regional Courts. [At iedivorce, we finalise our divorces in the Western Cape High Court. It is important that if you want to make use of our services that at least one of the parties permanently reside in the Western Cape. It does not matter where the other party resides. We will expand to other High Courts in South Africa in due course.]
Which Court will have jurisdiction to hear my divorce?
The starting point is that the High Court and Regional Courts in whose area of jurisdiction (power) either of the parties is domiciled, will have jurisdiction to hear the divorce.
Domicile is the place where a person is legally deemed to be continually and permanently present and, as a result, the place where a person will exercise his/her rights and fulfil his/her obligations. In plain language: it is where your home is.
Jurisdiction has, however, been extended: either of the parties may start divorce proceedings (by issuing divorce summons) at a particular Regional Court or High Court if he/she, on the day of issuing summons, was ordinarily resident in the jurisdiction of that particular court’s jurisdiction and was ordinarily resident in the Republic of South Africa for a period of one year immediately prior to the date of issuing.
Read Section 2(1)(b) of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979 for more information about this.
The High Court of South Africa:
All divisions of the High Court have the jurisdiction to hear divorces. If you, for example, live in the Western Cape, then the Western Cape Division of the High Court (Cape Town) will have jurisdiction to hear your divorce.
Where are the divisions of the High Court of South Africa situated?
- Western Cape High Court (Cape Town)
- Eastern Cape High Court (Bhisho)
- Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown)
- Eastern Cape High Court (Mthatha)
- Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth)
- Free State High Court (Bloemfontein)
- KwaZulu- Natal High Court (Durban)
- KwaZulu-Natal High Court (Pietermaritzburg)
- South Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg)
- Northern Cape High Court (Kimberley)
- North Gauteng High Court (Pretoria)
- Limpopo High Court (Thohoyandou)
- North West High Court, Mafikeng (Mmabatho)
- Polokwane Circuit Court of the North Gauteng High Court (Pretoria)
Regional Courts of South Africa:
There are many Regional Courts across South Africa. Click here for more information regarding their locations.
Need more information?
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Nazli Williams (BCom LLB), director at Patton Williams Attorneys, is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specialising in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of expertise and interest include Divorce Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence Law and International Divorce Law. Her vision is to demystify Family Law processes, helping good people in plain language and with great technology, to achieve remarkable results.